The Right Things: MBA Director John Bingham

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John Bingham doesn’t believe in balance.

As the director of the BYU MBA program, he’s got more than a little on his plate. In addition to his Marriott School gig, he’s also the father of five children, bishop in his LDS ward, and a “wannabe” farmer. But for Bingham, life isn’t about balancing various activities; it’s about establishing priorities.

“It’s a matter of figuring out what’s most important and focusing on those things at the right times, and understanding that a lot of times and seasons in our life are going to be out of balance,” Bingham says. “I’ve never worked harder in my life than I am right now, but I’ve also never been more satisfied with my professional career. It’s because I feel like I have the right priorities lined up.”

Sometimes our responsibilities require that we burn the midnight oil, Bingham says, and other times they allow us to relax and enjoy ourselves.

“The key is knowing when to prioritize those things at different times in your life,” he says.

Family is at the top of Bingham’s list. He and his wife, Amy, value outdoor adventures that they can participate in together with their children.

“We’re really intentional about spending time together as a family doing outdoor activities,” Bingham says. “That’s been a really important hallmark of our relationship together.”

In addition to family and the outdoors, Bingham has always worked to prioritize another area of his life: entrepreneurship. Some of his earliest memories about business come from the avocado trees he grew up near in southern California.

“My grandmother would climb up into the trees to pull down avocados and then bring them out to the front yard, where my brother and I were selling them four for a dollar,” Bingham explains. “Our grandmother was in the tree, sourcing our product.”

Peddling fruit is merely one of many ways that Bingham learned to be enterprising in his youth, an attribute that followed him to adulthood. Some of his entrepreneurial endeavors include a residential window-washing company; drinks, snacks, T-shirts, and hats that he sold outside of Utah Jazz games; and later a river outfitting company, a medical services company, and two consulting firms.

Bingham also turned his passion into an education, completing a master of science in parks, recreation, and tourism at the University of Utah in 2000 and a PhD in business management, with an emphasis in organizational behavior, at Texas A&M in 2005. When the opportunity arose, Bingham visited BYU and was impressed by its atmosphere. He was hired to teach in 2005, and received the assignment as MBA director in 2014.

“I didn’t realize how special BYU is,” Bingham says. “And every year, the uniqueness and the power of BYU and its students to really influence peoples’ lives for good and benefit the world becomes more and more apparent to me. I have the vantage point of seeing the global impact of our programs on communities, on organizations, on society, on the church, and on families. That, for me, is one of the best parts of my job.”

DYK? 5 Interesting Facts about John Bingham:

  • “I was a doorman. I had the privilege of welcoming the very first guests into the Grand America Hotel, the only five-star hotel in all of Salt Lake City.”
  • “I’ve been run over or hit by almost every kind of motorized vehicle that exists,” Bingham says. “I’ve been run over by a car, I’ve been crushed by a motorcycle, I’ve been run over by a snowmobile, by an ATV, I’ve been hit by a sea-doo. I have a lot of scars.”
  • “I like to listen to soft-jazz music.”
  • “I’m a free-heel skier, like the hippies. I don’t just normal ski, I telemark ski. Whenever I go up to Sundance, there are maybe one or two other telemark skiers at the resort. People yell ‘hippie’ to me when they see me skiing down the hill.”
  • “I’ve grown to love raising and caring for chickens.” As a “wannabe” farmer, Bingham lives in a 1974 fixer-upper home that his family lovingly calls “The Lodge,” where a spring runs through the property and his children play in a “magical wonderland” of fruit trees, chickens, ducks, and other animals.